Wal-Mart bringing market to empty Albertson's space


Wal-Mart finalized plans to bring a neighborhood market into the former Albertson's building at the intersection of Troup Highway and Loop 323.

Walter Northcutt, president of Beer Wells Real Estate Services – East Texas in Longview, is the leasing agent for the Southpark Shopping Center, and said Wal-Mart bought the 54,980-square-foot building on Thursday.

"I think it will be good for everybody," he said.

Northcutt said it will not be another supercenter, but a grocery store.

Walmart Neighborhood Markets were designed in 1998 as a smaller-footprint option for communities in need of a pharmacy, affordable groceries and merchandise. Each one is about 38,000 square feet and employs up to 95 associates, according to www.walmart.com. Walmart Neighborhood Markets offer fresh produce, meat and dairy products, bakery and deli items, household supplies, health and beauty aids and a pharmacy.

Northcutt said Wal-Mart has filed a building permit with the city of Tyler and will start construction on the facility at 1900 ESE Loop 323 immediately. Work will include "huge" renovations, including a new roof, A/C, front and parking lot, he said.

"It's going to be nice," Northcutt said, adding that he was "afraid to say" how long construction would take and when the store might open.

Albertson's closed in early 2011, but still paid rent on the space for quite a while because its lease was not up, Northcutt said. Wal-Mart became interested in the building before Albertson's lease ended, he added.

The building originally housed a Tom Thumb in the early 1980s. The current owners of the Southpark Shopping Center bought the center about 10 years ago and hired Beer Wells Real Estate – East Texas to represent it.

Wal-Mart representatives did not immediately return calls Friday.


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